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New book on history of Kerry’s houses launched at Muckross




By Sean Moriarty

History buffs of Kerry and particularly Killarney will be hoping a copy of ‘The Big House in Kerry’ will be under the tree on Christmas Day.

NEW BOOK: Gene and Kathleen MacGillycuddy (left) with Rose and Nicholas MacGillycuddy at the launch of Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s new book ‘The Big House in Kerry'. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

LAUNCH: Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s new book ‘The Big House in Kerry' was launched by former Labour leader Tánaiste and Irish Statesman Dick Spring. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

CALLING: Don Rohan (resident butler) calling guests to the launch in Muckross House Killarney of Tralee historian Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s new book. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

ATTENDING: Rose and Nicholas MacGillycuddy at the launch of ‘The Big House in Kerry'. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

READING: Historian Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe overlooks former Labour Leader Tánaiste and Irish Statesman Dick Spring at the lunch of her new book. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

GUESTS: At the book launch in Muckross House were former Labour leader Tánaiste and Irish Statesman Dick Spring (left) Ann Tangney (Head Guide at Muckross House) and Maurice O'Keeffe (Irish Life and Lore). Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

GROUP: Brendan O'Mahony Ruth O'Mahony Dan Kelleher and Karol O'Mahony (architect and contributor) at the launch of Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s new book ‘The Big House in Kerry'. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

MEETING: Former Labour leader Tánaiste and Irish Statesman Dick Spring Jane's husband Maurice O'Keeffe (left) and Dr John Knightly (Contributor) at the launch of Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s new book. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

SPEAKER: The book was launched by former Labour Leader Tánaiste and Irish Statesman Dick Spring. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan



The 330-page fully illustrated book was launched in Muckross House last Friday.

Edited by Kerry-based historian Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe, ‘The Big House in Kerry’ is co-written by 11 other historians.

Each of them dedicates a chapter to great houses of Kerry including Muckross House, Killarney, Flesk Castle and Killarney House.

“It is photographic and documentary account to date of life as it was lived by the gentry of Kerry up to independence," Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe said at Friday’s launch.

"It is set out across chapters each dedicated to a large house and the family/families that inhabited it – written by some of the county’s leading historians.”

The book costs €39 and is available in all good book shops including the gift shop at Muckross House.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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